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Drap Rent Government Exchequer Or Public Money: A Conundrum

ISLAMABAD: The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan paid Rs.280 million from the public exchequer, senate committee was informed. The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services and Regulations (NHSR), met with Senator Sajjad Hussain Turi in the chair

Status of implementation matters as recommendations issued by the committee during last 3 years and mechanism of establishment of a slaughterhouse in the federal city were discussed.

DRAP officials informed the senate committee, that the department paid 280 million over the past 3 years as ‘rent’ for the building, as the issue of the allotment of land for constructing their own building is a distant dream.

The committee in its earlier recommendations, had directed the ministry of NHS to construct a building for the DRAP to save a huge amount worth Rs.4.5million, being paid every month, on account of rent.

The chair was displeased with the explanation of DRAP officials, upon claiming ‘public money’ as ‘government funds.’ – “It is not the government’s fund, but public money, which is collected from the taxes of people and is being utilized carelessly.” -Committee Chairman Senator Sajjad Hussain Turi, remarked.

DRAP officials responded that the matter of allotment of 50 canal land has already been taken up with the National Institute of Health Management and they have agreed to provide appropriate land for construction of the building. Furthermore, they added, that the Public Works Department has refused to initiate work and DARP is mulling to award the contract to a private firm, after obtaining an approval letter from NIH.

Senator Ashok Kumar expressed concerns over the matter as to why DARP requires such a vast area for their building, to which DARP officials responded that they plan to set up testing labs and other facilities. Officials also informed the Senate Body that a number of drug manufacturing companies have shut down their businesses and fled the country due to the new drug policies, while 16 licenses were cancelled during the last 3 years. They added that the Drug Pricing Policy 2015 is currently being implemented and uniform generic prices for new registration are being fixed under the policy.

However, variation in prices of generic products of different companies is a global phenomenon and many companies sell drugs below the maximum retail prices, fixed by the federal government.

Points were raised by Senator Ashok Kumar, regarding the shortage of medicines in the market, along with financial corruption in the departments, followed by mismanagement.

The Senate Committee was told by DARP officials, that efforts are continued to resolve all issues till June.

The officials of Capital Development Authority (CDA) also briefed the committee on the establishment of a slaughterhouse in the city, with land being allocated already: and the Senate Committee then recommended constituting a separate committee, comprising members from CDA, Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), NHS and National Food Security, to handle this issue.

The committee in the last 3 years gave 30 recommendations regarding DARP issues, 15 on Pakistan Medical and Dental Council and 10 on NIH.

February 19, 2018

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